The construction of the J. Gilbert Smith House began in 1901, in Los Altos, and finished in 1905.
J. Gilbert Smith was a former mechanical engineering student at Stanford University. J. Gilbert Smith was outlived by his wife who constinued to live in the home. After the death of Mrs. Smith, the house was sold to the city. This is different from most historical houses that are owned amongst multiple generations of families, rather than owned by just one generation, before being converted to a local museum.